Today marks the beginning of Summer and the longest day of the year. I like that. If any season of the year had the longest day, Summer should certainly be it.
Summer solstice is the instant of time when the axial tilt of the Earth leans towards the Sun, as the Sun is highest in the sky. Solstice is taken from Latin meaning: sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still).
When you think of Summertime, what do you think of?
Most times I find my mind is in the past as I think of many a wonderful Summer day spent at my grandparent’s or my families working farms. These were the best days of my life. No mind that my relatives had outdoor toilets for years until they put in regular bathrooms. I was just a kid, but it was so different from my home life.
Most of my relatives had working farms and rotated crops along with cattle or milk cows. Uncle Bennie had a dairy farm and milked his cows by hand until milking machines could be afforded. My grandma and grandpa gave their original working farm to Uncle Bobby while they bought land around a lake. It was a paradise with my favorite people included.
Any kids hanging around with nothing better to do for too long would get put to work. Us “city kids” would love it! My cousins who normally had to do the work were sure we had lost our senses.
I was the oldest grandchild and in the fields a lot, especially when making hay. Making hay would entail following the tractor that was pulling the baler. The baler would cut the hay down, collect it in square bales and put twine around the bales. After the baler there would be a wagon and our job was to pick these bales up and stack them on the wagon. It was back breaking, scratchy, sweaty work and I loved it especially after a long, hot bath.
One day Uncle Bobby was driving out to his field to combine grain. Us kids begged to go along and help. We had seen combining from afar and it looked like riding in the grain bin would be fun. There was nothing else for us to do but Bobby had a plan to get us out of his hair. He agreed and told us to jump into the empty bin he was pulling behind the combine.
We felt like we were going on an old fashioned tractor hay ride as we scrambled inside. There were woods behind the farm and after going through them we popped out onto the field. Bobby told us what to watch out for on the combine machine and asked if we were ready to go. Then he turned on the combine.
After it was cut free from the stalks in front the grain would shoot through the nozzle, hitting us with the stream. The bin started to fill up. I noticed some bugs coming in with the grain and in no time bugs were flying around us. They were getting sucked in with the grain. They were tangled in my hair, some were dead. They were flying to get away and they were everywhere. In the bin there was no place you could sit that wasn’t in the grain with the bugs. I started to scream.
Uncle Bobby had the last laugh as he opened the bin watching me scramble out for my life. I don’t remember crying but as we walked back through the woods to go home, but my uncle’s lesson had not been lost on me. To this day I still think about how many bugs there were!
We picked berries by the bucket in Summer. It’s all good when you pick your own. Blueberries, strawberries, winterberries, apples and more. They were cheap and delicious grown in the USA. Food is so much better in season.
I learned all about having a horse from Lyn my oldest cousin. While I was visiting she would let me pretend her horse was mine. She had a brown and white painted gelding that I rode through woods so deep and quiet. I can still evoke the feeling of being one with the world on horseback.
Depending on the season my grandpa and uncles would hunt. Grandpa would catch fresh-water fish and hunt duck with his black lab. At dinner we all sat at the table together to partake in this banquet. The farm and the woods provided us with so much tasty good food. None of us kids were allowed to bring picky appetites to the table.
At night we would catch Lightning bugs and frogs. We’d run around in the darkness having a blast while the adults sat inside at the dinner table playing cards. I can still see them sitting around the table.
Waking up at my grandparent’s home on the lake was fairy tale stuff for real. As the morning mist would clear you could see around the whole lake. Deer would feed at the edge with nothing to fear. Fish would jump on the otherwise smooth lake surface. Once and awhile we’d spy a brown or black bear.
We usually stayed in the attic room when staying with my grandparent’s with a window on both sides of the house and no view of the lake. So I would sneak downstairs, get the binoculars and take in all that I could see before everyone got up for breakfast. Magical Summertime days for me.
I hope you liked some of my memories from Summers Past and that you have some of your own to share. When you think of Summertime, what do you think of?